John Coltrane (1926-1967) was one of the most innovative forces in African- American music. By experimenting with new concepts of time, integrating Eastern philosophies into Western music, and exploring multiphonics and other new sounds on his saxophone, he opened avenues of expression that influenced musicians and composers from jazz to rock to avant-garde.Bill Cole focuses on two aspects of John Coltrane in this provocative study: Coltrane the musician and Coltrane the religious person. Deeply interrelated, both aspects are bound up with Coltrane’s identification as an African- American. Coltrane accepted the traditional African belief in the magical powers of sound and connected his music to its African roots via a devout religiosity. Cole shows how Coltrane’s influences extended from tribal tone languages to speeches by Martin Luther King, Jr. — he even adapted King’s rhythmic inflections into a saxophone solo.Bill Cole offers a lengthy musical analysis of Coltrane’s career; it also includes a detailed discography with recording data and personnel and over two dozen photographs. Cole draws on quotes from Coltrane himself, transcriptions of his improvisations, analyses of his music, research into West African religion, and his own personal reminiscences of the man, to offer a stimulating perspective on Coltrane’s music, life, and thought.
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